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EAST ANGLIA & THE MIDLANDS Anne and Chris Parker have travelled the world, but their biggest voyage of discovery has been the journey from hobby coffee roasters to Great Taste Golden Fork winners


raft roastery Monsoon Estates Coffee Company never dared hope that it would win an elusive three-star award, so when Anne and Chris Parker received news that their signature espresso blend had made it into the Great Taste Top 50 foods and scooped a Golden Fork, they were “blown away”. “We have entered several coffees in the past four years, getting some one- and two-star awards, but we never thought we would get the coveted three-star,” says Anne. We wanted to “To then make the Top create a classic 50 and be mentioned in espresso that we The Times has pushed us to another level and remembered from enhanced our credibility our travels. It had as coffee roasters.” to be full, rich In some ways, and chocolatey the company has without being a No9 Church St in dark roast. Stratford-upon-Avon – its first commercial customer – to thank for the award, as the Monsoon espresso blend was created for the restaurant. “We wanted to create a classic espresso that we remembered from our travels,” says Anne. “It had to be full, rich and chocolatey without being a dark roast, and good with or without milk. Basically, we were looking to capture the essence of one of our favourite espressos from Italian Joe at Café Sport in Perth, Australia, back in the 80s.” The blend is a mixture of Guatemalan, Colombian, Brazilian and African Arabica beans, all chosen for “what they bring in flavour and compatibility with each other”. Each origin is roasted separately to its own specific profile, then the beans are blended together and rested for a few days. This yields a blend that Anne describes as “full bodied, sweet, smooth and chocolatey with a hint of citrus”.

“The judges nailed it when they described it as ‘proper coffee’ and said it was good enough to transport them to the espresso bars of Italy!” she says. The husband-and-wife-team first started roasting their own coffee in 2010 when, on returning from travelling, they “struggled to find a good cup”. The purchase of a Turkish Toper roaster followed, and before long they were selling their coffee at local fairs and charity events.


There’s not much time for those any more with a thriving web-order business and numerous coffee shops, restaurants, farm shops and cafés to keep in coffee. The business now operates from a dedicated micro-roastery on the Alscot Estate near Stratford-upon-Avon, and is in the process of purchasing its fourth roaster. “Business is growing rapidly and we are looking at another roaster again,” says Anne. “We’re looking forward to continued growth and discovering some new and great coffees – hopefully another three-star one.”

How to use: goes well with a traditional biscotti, orange and almond cake or a strong, nutty cheddar


Great Taste Book 2016-17  
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